miss fisher

Bride of Babylon

Let me now turn my focus to another favorite minor character of mine, Clara Whiting, who appears in episode 2.9, “Framed for Murder”.  The wonderful Jane Harber plays Raymond’s assistant, who “looks after the props, script pages, everything really”.  Although at first glance she seems a plain and unassuming sort of young woman, we soon learn that Clara is intelligent, quick, and possesses a marvelous photographic memory.

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Hey! 👋🏻I’m Rainey; I’m 18 and bisexual.
I love photography and cooking, I also watch way too much Netflix (as a lot of us do). A few of my favorites are Bobs Burgers, Miss Fishers, and most horror movies.
I love my friends💗 and I’ve met a lot of cool people on tumblr. Photography is one of my greatest passions but I also enjoy watercolor and makeup. 💄
I connect with people who have similar interests who can also teach me new things or introduce me to new hobbies. I also love music and would love to hear about new artists!
My blog is @raineyfordays
Hit me up! I’d love to talk😁

Minor Character Love: Lola (Nell) Williams

Played by Anna Bamford
Murder Most Scandalous, Season 2 Episode 1 

We meet Lola when she comes knocking on Miss Fisher’s kitchen door late one night. She says she needs help because a “dirty rotten cop has murdered” her friend.

It turns out that Lola is Dottie’s sister, Nell. Even curiouser, the dirty rotten cop she suspects of killing her friend, Lavinia, turns out to be George Sanderson, the Deputy Commissioner, and Jack’s former father-in-law. Mr. Sanderson, we have already seen in the cold open, is knocked out in a wing chair in a locked parlor while a young woman with a rope around her neck lays bleeding on his Persian rug. Whether he is dirty or not is a question we (including Jack) will ponder for some time.

It quickly becomes apparent that Nell is not the quiet, shy, and modest girl that her sister, Dorothy, is. She has lower necklines, showy dresses and redder lipstick; as her mother would say, they’ll see Nell coming. Dottie, surprised that she introduces herself as Lola, is not thrilled to see her at Mrs. Fisher’s door.  

Then of course there’s Lola’s choice of profession. Lola, like Lavinia, is a courtesan at the Imperial Club, a rather swanky gentleman’s club/brothel that Commissioner Sanderson periodically raids. (Interesting footnote: Lola shares her names with two real-life world-famous courtesans, Lola Montez and Nell Gwyn). She’s kind of a flirt, and though she doesn’t care for the police, she does take a shine to Hugh and his buttons.

After visiting the club it dawns on Dottie that Lola may be doing more than show dancing. Ashamed (she worries what Hugh may think) and yet wanting to be forgiving, she invites her sister for tea and tries to mend fences. Lola brings Dottie a present - turns out to be a Bible which she says looks better than the moth eaten one she’d been carrying around. Dottie says the Bible was a gift from their mother, and we get a glimpse of how the two daughters were treated differently by Mrs. Williams, one as the virtuous girl and the other as the rebellious one.

Dottie tells her sister that what she’s doing isn’t right and that she can help her find other work. But Lola doesn’t want other work. She’s earning good money, and meanwhile she gets to dance, smoke gaspers and drink champagne. So Dottie tries another tactic. She tells Lola that she is breaking their mother’s heart. But Lola has little respect for how their mother lives. It’s not bad enough that she works hard, is saddled with kids and can’t even afford a new dress. Lola’s sure that in the end of the day their mother also has to “pay her dues” to their father, whether she feels like it or not. If she is to be prostituted, at least it can be by rich men who pay her for it. Well, you can imagine how incensed Dottie is to hear this, and the sisterly reunion fails.

Miss Fisher discovers that Lola is secretly seeing Maurie Burke, the doorman at the Imperial. Lola says Maurie’s a good man, if somewhat emotionally distant since he lost his brother six months earlier. But she believes they’re serious and about to be engaged.  

Alas, things don’t turn out well for Maurie and Lola. There is more to Maurie’s story than Lola knows, and though she insists that he’s not a killer, we learn otherwise. What I thought was revealing is that as she was crying about Maurie’s fate she said “all he needed was kindness”. The sentiment is pity, not love. 

So why did I pick Lola, the rebellious, bad Williams girl? Here’s the thing. Lola is a realist. She comes from a world where women were limited in choices. In her upbringing girls were expected to go to church, marry, and have lots of kids. Dancing, drinking and other sensual pleasures of life were sins. Lola rejects this notion. She prefers to be independent. We know that as a maid in the Andrews household Dottie found herself vulnerable to John Andrews’ advances, and that if it weren’t for her chance meeting with Phryne she would have resorted to life in a convent. Lola doesn’t accept those options and so she supports herself through the world’s oldest profession.

In fact Lola has some qualities Dottie could use more of. As we learn about the Williams family and their disapproval of Hugh we realize that Dot could do with a little more rebelliousness too. And though Dorothy is harshly critical of Lola, Lola approaches her sister with some affection, and little judgement. The gift of the Bible is evidence of this, and though she’s not a believer herself, she tells Miss Fisher that she’s sure fondness for the church helps some people. I also found Lola’s devotion to the people in her life, Lavinia and Madam Lyon and Maurie, touching.

By the way, I thought Anna Bamford, who plays Lola, was stunning in the role.

We don’t see more of Lola after this. It’s a pity. As Miss Fisher said, “sisters are a precious commodity” and we can only hope that Lola and Dottie have maintained their sisterly relationship off-screen.